The beginning of fall semester will find the University of Utah's College of Law with one of its most mixed first-year classes ever in terms of including women and minorities.
Out of 129 students starting a legal education at the U., 44 percent are women and 17 percent are racial and ethnic minorities."It's definitely one of the most diverse classes we've had," said Reyes Aguilar, director of admissions and financial aid at the college.
Two years ago the majority of the incoming class were women, and in 1988 the first-year class had one more minority student than this year's class.
"We're proud of the (number of women this year) because even at 44 percent, we're still three or four points above the national average," Aguilar said.
Prospective students can see that the law school's administration and faculty are diverse. Women and minorities make up the majority of the school's administration, Aguilar said.
"When people see that, they see we have a strong commitment (to diversity), not only for students, but for those who are running and teaching at the school," he added.
The college also has a strong recruiting program, Aguilar said, hastening to emphasize that it's not a quota system.
"Each of those students accepted this year is definitely qualified to be here," he said. "As far as women and ethnic minorities are concerned, these are the most highly credentialed students we have ever had."
Utah's other college of law, Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School, also recruits aggressively to increase diversity, said admissions officer Lola Wilcock. The first-year class is 18 percent minority and 34 percent women.